Planning document to be adopted for 3,500-home Ipswich garden suburb

Out-Law News | 22 Sep 2014 | 5:01 pm | 2 min. read

Ipswich Borough Council has voted in favour of the interim adoption of a supplementary planning document (SPD) to guide the delivery of a 3,500-home 'garden suburb' on farmland to the north of Ipswich.

The 195 hectare Northern Fringe site was identified for the development of "a major urban extension" in the local plan core strategy document (170-page / PDF) adopted by the Council in 2011. The document allocated part of the site for the development of 1,000 homes before 2021 and the remainder as the "main source of housing land in Ipswich after 2021".

A public consultation was held from January to March on a draft SPD (202-page / 12 MB PDF), to guide the development of the Northern Fringe urban extension, and to identify the infrastructure that must be delivered to sustain a proposed new community of between 3,000 and 3,500 homes. The SPD proposed the creation of an "Ipswich garden suburb" (IGS) of three neighbourhoods, each with its own local centre, connected to one another by a tree-lined avenue.

According to the SPD, a 1,000-home central neighbourhood called Fonnereau was intended to be the focus for development until 2021. A district centre within Fonnereau was expected to include shops, restaurants, public houses, a health centre, and a library, as well as a primary school and a district park.

To the east of Fonnereau, a neighbourhood called Red House would be built around existing buildings and woodland, the SPD proposed. Red House would include a primary school and was also the preferred site for a secondary school. A third neighbourhood, called Henley Gate, would be located in the north west of the Northern Fringe and would include a 24.5 hectare country park.

Following the consultation, a report was produced, recommending minor alterations to the SPD to improve its clarity.

The report (57-page / 356 KB PDF) noted that the Council was unable to demonstrate a five year supply of housing land, and that a review of the adopted core strategy was underway, with changes proposed to accelerate the delivery of homes in the district. The proposed changes included the deletion of a requirement for 60% of development up to 2027 to take place on brownfield sites, and would allow for the early release of parts of the IGS outside Fonnereau for development, the report said.

The report recommended that the SPD be adopted as interim guidance, pending full adoption on completion of the core strategy review. This would allow the SPD to be "have greater weight as a material consideration in the determination of any planning applications", the report said.

"The SPD is vital to properly guide and plan the integrated development of this site, and secure the appropriate supporting infrastructure," said the report. "Without the SPD in place, it reduces the ability for the council to consider and determine planning applications in the IGS. Having the SPD in place will help ensure piecemeal approaches are avoided and the overall 'master plan' is accorded with, in order to deliver a well-planned, well designed sustainable garden suburb."

Accepting the recommendation, the Council voted in favour of interim adoption at a meeting last week.

Full adoption of the SPD is expected in late 2015.